Alex Goldmark is the senior producer of Note to Self, a storytelling show about how technology is changing society. Subscribe here to get Note to Self shows delivered right to your devices. Follow him on Twitter @alexgoldmark.
Feds Give Amtrak $30 Million for Northeast Corridor Sandy Rebuilding
Friday, May 03, 2013 - 05:08 PM
Amtrak is getting reimbursed for the $20 million it spent pumping water out of flooded train tunnels during Sandy and additional money to fix infrastructure damaged in the storm. The federal government will give $30 million to the publicly subsidized company, which has said it suffered $60 million in damages from Sandy and needs $250 million to adequately prepare for the next storm.
For comparison, the NY MTA, which runs the NYC subway and commuter rail lines was much harder hit in its miles of electrified underground tunnels. The MTA estimates $5 billion in losses with several billion more needed to prepare for future storms. That agency has received $2 billion in federal relief funds with another $6 billion on the way.
Here's the full Amtrak funding announcement:
U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $30.2 Million to Continue Hurricane Sandy Recovery along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced he is providing $30.2 million to Amtrak to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy along its heavily-traveled Northeast Corridor. The funding comes from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 and is being provided by the Federal Railroad Administration.
“Amtrak serves as a critical transportation link throughout the Northeast Corridor, and we are committed to helping it rebuild from Hurricane Sandy on behalf of the thousands of riders who rely on it each day,” said Secretary LaHood. “We continue to do all we can to help make all of our storm-damaged public transportation systems whole again.”
Today’s grant reimburses Amtrak for $20.1 million for expenses associated with pumping water from tunnels and debris removal and for immediate and on-going repairs to vital infrastructure needed to operate more than 2,000 trains along the Northeast Corridor each day. The balance of the grant money will fund repairs to the East Tunnel that connects Manhattan and Queens, the North River Tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York City, and other facilities.
Following Hurricane Sandy, four of the six tunnels between New York City and New Jersey flooded with seawater. Immense amounts of water and debris were removed from the tunnels and system-wide repairs had to be completed before service could be restored. The most critical damage was to electrical systems, particularly the Kearney substation, located in Kearney, New Jersey, plus signals, lighting, mechanical rooms, and emergency call boxes. The damage was caused by wind, heavy rains and saltwater.
“The storm’s wake demonstrates the necessity to not only rebuild, but to invest in our infrastructure so we are better prepared to withstand and recover from future natural disasters,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.
Additional repairs to rail, ties, ballasts, third rail signal systems, pump stations, circuit breakers, and vital infrastructure are still on-going and are expected to continue throughout the summer months.
The appropriations measure was signed into law by President Obama on January 29, 2013. The total appropriation related to Amtrak’s recovery from Sandy was $32 million.